On the second shift of Andrew Shaw’s NHL career, he got into a fight with the Flyers’ Zac Rinaldo.
As soon as the referee dropped the puck to resume play after the Blackhawks had taken a 1-0 lead, Shaw removed his gloves and helmet, and waited for Rinaldo to skate over from the opposite wing.
Shaw landed a vicious right, then absorbed multiple blows from Rinaldo that opened a gaping wound above his right eye.
And just like that, a reputation was born.
The scrappy Shaw quickly became a favorite of coach Joel Quenneville and he ended up playing a vital role in the Hawks’ Stanley Cup championships in 2013 and ’15.
Now in his second stint with the organization that drafted him in the fifth round in 2011, Shaw’s reputation continues to follow — and at times — haunt him.
Both Shaw and coach Jeremy Colliton believe officials are calling penalties against the forward simply because of what Shaw has done in the past. The 28-year-old drew 6 minors in the Hawks’ first six games.
“It’s something he’s got to be aware of, but I think he’s got a bull’s-eye on him,” Colliton said. “If I go back through all the penalties he’s taken, he probably earned a couple and probably he earned (a couple) like five years ago. So that’s something he’s got to deal with.”
Shaw, however, doesn’t believe he should have to deal with it.
If he commits a penalty, fine.
But don’t go looking for something that isn’t there.
“The referees, no matter the history (of) the player, should call the game as it is,” he said before the Hawks hosted Vegas at the United Center on Tuesday. “I mean, yeah, I might have been too vocal in my younger days. But the past three years I’ve been trying to clean it up a little bit.
“I just take my penalties when I get ’em. But I must have dug myself a really deep hole. (Just) trying to climb out of it since.”
Heading into Tuesday, the Hawks had killed off 5 of Shaw’s 6 penalties (although the Flyers scored with Shaw in the box while skating 4-on-4 in the season opener). He wasn’t happy with any of the last three calls — a holding penalty against Washington’s Nick Jensen; a hooking call on Columbus’ Alexander Wennberg; and an interference call on the Blue Jackets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois.
One thing’s for sure, though — Shaw isn’t going to change how he plays. He’s still going to deliver huge, crunching hits. He’ll remain a pest in front of the opponent’s goalie. And he’s going to continue to stick up for his teammates.
“I find if I’m not playing on the edge, I’m not playing great,” Shaw said. “I need to play physical. Even in preseason, I was just finishing checks — clean, shoulder-to-shoulder — and was getting penalty after penalty.
“Hockey still is a physical game. There’s still hitting. It’s still legal. So I’m going to go out there and play hard; make it hard on my opponents.”
In other words, The Mutt’s gonna keeping coming.
“Not going to change who I am now,” Shaw said, then added with a wry smile: “I’m an old dog.”
• Twitter: @johndietzdh